I have just begun Peter Ackroyd's book about William Blake. I know next to nothing about Blake's poetry, never having found congenial the glimpses of a visonary poet as presented in the usual literary histories, but Ackroyd does a wonderful job of weaving in the details of London then and now with the story of Blake and his world, and gives more weight to his work as an artist and engraver. I might still not want to read Blake the way I read the Spanish mystic poets, but with Ackroyd's books, one sees a deployment of erudition rather than scholarship, and the reading is much more agreeable. Alas, I think I stopped writing in part because I could do a very good job as the first kind of writer, but not so much as the second, and my standards and internal censorship were too strong to overcome the fear of professional punishment that came when I stopped the academic writing.
Today, I'm going to the library to pick up two more books I have on hold, both by Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter for The Kinks. The first one was published ten years ago, and is called "an unauthorized biography" although it is Davies himself who wrote it. The second just came out this year, and is more straight-up memoir/recollections of the music business.
In this BBC documentary on The Kinks,
Many people love their song "Waterloo Sunset" for its melody, but it also such an evocation of a place.
Ray Davies voice isn't the most dramatic, but he can actually sing his demanding vocal lines with great fidelity to pitch. Respect.